Shaw plays the role of Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro who, with a small expeditionary force, travels to South America in search of Incan treasure. He builds a relationship with the Inca king, played by Plummer, that is based both on suspicion and trust and is rooted in their mutual
respect. Shaw deifies himself, angering the king's people, and eventually Shaw's rebellious minions sentence the Inca ruler to death, above the loud protests of Shaw. It is only after the execution that Shaw realizes the troubles he has caused the Peruvians. Talky and philosophical--and not to be
regarded as historically accurate.